Index of Astrophotos

Pleiades M45

Pleiades, also known as the Seven Sisters, is an open star cluster about 440 light-years away. The cluster formed roughly 100 million years ago from a gas cloud similar to the Orion Nebula and contains over 1,000 members. What we mostly see are the young, hot, blue type B-stars. They light up in blue the interstellar dust cloud the cluster is passing through as we speak. This is not the same cloud from which the cluster formed.

Acquisition: Takahashi FSQ-106ED at f/5, STT-8300M camera.
Exposure: 300s x 8 (B), xx 6 (G), x 5 (R).
(My first astrophoto.)

Andromeda Galaxy M31

M31 is the largest galaxy of the Local Group, which includes the Milky Way, M33 and about 40 smaller galaxies. It is the closest large galaxy to us, 2.5 million light-years away. M31 formed 10 billion years ago from the collision of smaller galaxies. There are still signs of a close interaction with M33 from 2-4 billion years ago, and Andromeda is expected to collide with the Milky Way in about 4 billion years. The dwarf galaxies nearby are designated M 32 and M 110.

Acquisition: Takahashi FSQ-106ED at f/5, STT-8300M camera.
Exposure: LRGB 8 x 5 min, total time 2h40m.

Triangulum Galaxy M33

The Triangulum Galaxy is 3 million light-years away. Reddish areas of HII (ionized hydrogen) emission are gas clouds similar to, but much larger than, the Orion Nebula complex in our galaxy. The stars farther out in the disk are younger than the core stars, indicating that the rim has accumulated gas while the core becomes exhausted, so-called inside out galaxy formation.

Acquisition: Takahashi FSQ-106ED at f/5, STT-8300M camera.
Exposure: L 15, RGB 10 x 5min, bin 1x1.

Whirlpool Galaxy M51

The Whirlpool is a spiral galaxy 23 million light-years away, about 1/3 the size of the Milky Way. The dwarf galaxy (M51b) has passed through it roughly 100 million years ago, causing a burst of star formation. The many small galaxies you see are part of the same group.

Acquisition: Takahashi FSQ-106ED at f/5, STT-8300M camera.
Exposure: 300s x 8 RGB, 300s x 14 L.

Galaxy Pair M81, M82

M81, the larger spiral galaxy, is about 12 million light-years away in the constellation Ursa Major. Its galactic nucleus harbors a 70 million M☉ supermassive black hole. M82, also known as the Cigar Galaxy, is undergoing starburst formation at about ten times the normal rate due to a tidal interaction with M81 about 100 million years ago which funneled gas into the galaxy core. It looks like something bad is happening in M82.

Acquisition: Takahashi FSQ-106ED at f/5, STT-8300M camera.
L 13 x 5min bin 1x1, RGB 7 x 5min bin 2x2, Ha 9 x 5min bin 2x2.

Helix Nebula NGC 7293

The Helix is a "planetary" emission nebula about 700 light-years distant in the constellation Aquarius. It is the closest of this type of nebula to Earth. Planetary nebulae form at the end of the star's life, during the red giant phase. The outer layers of the star are expelled by strong stellar winds. Eventually, after most of the red giant's atmosphere is dissipated, the exposed hot, luminous core emits ultraviolet radiation to ionize the ejected outer layers of the star. Absorbed ultraviolet light energises the shell of nebulous gas around the central star, appearing as a bright colored planetary nebula. This object is estimated to be about 10,000 years old. The teal color in the center of the Helix is the color of fluorescing oxygen.

Acquisition: Takahashi FSQ-106ED at f/8, STT-8300M camera.
Exposure: RGB 500s x 8.

Rosette Nebula Caldwell 49, 50

The Rosette is a mostly hydrogen cloud 50 light-years across and about 5,000 ly away in the center of which is an actively forming star cluster. These young stars have heated the central gas to 6 million degrees, and their radiation causes characteristic red hydrogen alpha emission.

Acquisition: Takahashi FSQ-106ED at f/5, STT-8300M camera.
Exposure: 300s x 6 RGB, 600s x 6 Ha.

Iris Nebula NGC 7023

The Iris is a reflection nebula 1300 light-years distant and about 6 ly across located in Cephus. It is lit by a 7th magnitude star, part of a star cluster. The cluster presumably formed from the gas cloud.

Acquisition: Takahashi FSQ-106ED at f/5, STT-8300M camera.
Exposure: RGB 300s x 12.

Orion Nebula M42

The Orion Nebula is a diffuse nebula about 1,300 light-years away and is the closest region of massive star formation to Earth. The M42 nebula is estimated to be 24 ly across, with a mass of about 2000 Suns. The nebula has revealed much about the process of how stars and planetary systems are formed from collapsing clouds of gas and dust. Red colors are “emission nebulae” from ionized hydrogen, blue are “refelction nebulae” illuminated by nearby stars.

Acquisition: Takahashi FSQ-106ED at f/5, STT-8300M camera.
Exposure: LRGB 180s x 10 and 30s x 10.

Horsehead Nebula Barnard 33 #1, and #2

The Horsehead is a dark nebula, part of the Orion complex, located near Alnitak, the eastern star of Orion's belt. The pinkish-red glow comes from ionized hydrogen gas mostly from behind the nebula.

Acquisition: Takahashi FSQ-106ED at f/5, STT-8300M camera.
Image #1: RGB 600s x 2, Ha 1200s x 2. Imaging abandoned due to high clouds.
Image #2: RGB 600s x 8, Ha 1200s x 8

Globular Cluster M13

M13 is 25,000 light-years distant and is about 145 ly across, containing several hundred thousand stars. Its estimated age is 11.6 billion years, much older than the Milky Way. (The nearby small, faint galaxy is NGC 6207.) Like similar globulars, it is in orbit around our galaxy. The center of the cluster is said to have about 500 times the concentration of stars as in the sun's neighborhood.

Acquisition: Takahashi FSQ-106ED at f/5, STT-8300M camera.
Exposure: RGB 18 x 100s B, 3 x 100s R, G (due to technical problems).

First Quarter Moon

Taken from the front porch.

Acquisition: Takahashi FSQ-106ED at f/8, Nikon D-7000 DSLR.
Exposure: 1/100 sec x 20.

- Takahashi FSQ-106ED at f/5, or at f/8 with Extender-Q.
- EM-200 mount.
- STT-8300M camera with filter wheel and internal guider.
- Nikon D-7000 DSLR.
- Processed 100% in PixInsight.

Rob Friefeld
Long Beach, California